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 Posted:   Jan 29, 2023 - 11:03 AM   
 By:   moroder20   (Member)

Dragon's Domain are doing incredible things with this composer.

I hope one day they will release the whole movie version of A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 (The Dream Master)! This is my favorite Craig Safan soundtrack!

 Posted:   Jun 26, 2023 - 3:21 PM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

#19 (of #35)

Seduced By Madness [1996]

Dragon’s Domain DDR748 (2023) *****

(Part of Craig Safan Horror Macabre Vol 2)
Best track: Guilt, New Life

Another amazing release from Dragon’s Domain, who continue to knock it out of the park. Two releases on a single disc - Nightmares (1983), paired with Seduced by Madness, a two part TV movie from 1996. Seduced is the disc highlight.

The opening three minutes could have come from Wolfen. Which is pretty out there for a TV movie. And the rest is an excellent, eerie thriller score. The grand finale (penultimate track) is vintage Safan and perhaps places this as his second best score of the 1990s on CD (behind Son of the Morning Star).

It’s a million miles from complete, but also ‘Exhibit A’ on why we need carefully curated releases, and not the whole shebang. The film has a typical TV movie theme, which appears sparingly on disc, but endlessly on screen. If we had a whole hour of it, the CD couldn’t have gone out as ‘horror macabre’. Even with those creepy strings playing over sedate funeral music.

10 minutes of this came out the same year on Safan’s first promo CD. But 1996 would be the last time he scored a theatrical feature. Madness indeed! Safan was still on blazing form.

THE FILM: The entire two part TV movie can be found on Youtube. It’s... pretty decent. Although the suspense (for me anyway) came from expecting a killing spree which didn’t happen. The unfaithful spouse is killed in the opening scene, so for a two parter I expected a bloodbath. But no. I guess the ‘hook’ here is that school kids did the murder for their teacher.

It’s also interesting to see who the kids believe when a parent kills their partner and will never admit it. Anyone familiar with The Staircase in either its documentary or drama form will know the drill. The kids in a ‘yours, mine and ours’ situation will line up behind their ‘main parent’, be they victim or killer, no matter what the evidence says. Blood is not just thicker than water, it’s thicker than reason. It somehow makes these tragedies even worse.

A pre-fame Tobey Maguire plays one of the kids. And Danny Masterson can be glimpsed at the end giving evidence in the Courtroom. Infact, I think he’s still there.

 Posted:   Jul 1, 2023 - 12:40 PM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

#20 (of #35)


Dragon’s Domain DDR748 (2021) ****

(Part of The Craig Safan Collection, Volume1)
Best track: Love Scene

A wonderful ‘B-side’ in a fantastic double disc set with TimeStalkers from Dragon’s Domain. I can’t thank them enough for putting this stuff out there.

Safan’s film career starts properly right here in 1980. Maybe his first ‘regular’ assignment with an orchestra. And the first chronologically where I can tell it's him, albeit only in a few fleeting moments.

Once again, viewing the film confirms Safan didn’t write every note. His sublime love theme is, in part, the work of the lead actor. Robby Benson’s self-penned theme song gets the orchestral make-over (which works wonders for it). Safan goes his own way for the second part of the track, assuming it’s original.

The final third is all circus music. Safan spent 10 years with Barnum & Bailey when film assignments dried up, and I assume this was recording was part of job pitch. It must have been been - it's wonderful stuff. [Circus, a CD from Perseverance Records, will appear later]

THE FILM: 4.7/10 on IMDB. Who votes on these things? A ridiculous rating. Yes, it’s silly, but no sillier than 50% of the rubbish out these days. And what works is hilarious. Robby Benson, who can act *and* sing and won’t let us forget it, really puts a shift in. He also writes the songs and is clearly performing most of his own stunts. And for a prettyboy in a vanity project, he’s not afraid to make himself look ridiculous.

Benson is framed for a murder, now on the run, but still breaks through police barriers to perform in a music competition. Then he’s back on the lam. It’s that good... if you’re into it.

And shockingly erotic! The ‘love scene’ (featuring Safan’s best work) beggars belief. Pay close attention to everything his tomboy girlfriend says and does when they’re both tied up. The MPAA were asleep at the wheel when they gave this a PG. This movie is an ‘R’!

Against all the odds, Die Laughing turned out to be one of the best theatrical movies Safan ever scored.

TRIVIA: Watching this, it’s hard to believe the fresh-faced kid in it would be voicing ‘The Beast’ in the Disney classic just a decade on.

 Posted:   Jul 16, 2023 - 12:01 AM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

#21 (of #35)

ANGEL [1983]

Intrada MAF 7051D (1993) ****
BSX Records BSXCD 8937 (2013) ****

Best track: Yo-Yo Man

This was a replacement score, composed and recorded in a week. Which is hard to believe, even logistically. It’s an electronic score, bolstered by an orchestra, oh and a pop ensemble on top. I think that week was rounded down from 13.5 days. But when you’re cooking, you’re cooking, and it remains a great moment in his career.

It’s surprising how cohesive the listening experience is despite the variety. It ticks a lot of boxes. There’s a Hallmark-esque main theme (like his late 90s TV work), action music (Remo), thriller (Lady Beware), ‘80s synth grooves (The Legend of Billie Jean). And sometimes you get all of that in one track played by synths, overlaid with an orchestra, drums and an electric guitar.

And it all works. I would say Safan’s greatest era is from right here until Elm Street IV five years later.

THE DISCS: Both releases of this score are now OOP. I bought the Intrada disc on release - 30 years ago! God, I feel old. Sound is good on both. BSX is the one to go for with two extra scores on the same disc, and better liner notes. Having said that, I’ve never listened to the other scores.

THE FILM: It’s... interesting. Anyone watching a recent archaeology flick has experienced multiple screenplay drafts playing out at once. And it happens here. Whilst the drafts could have been limitless, three stages are apparent.

1. Mindless drivel about a serial killer bumping off prostitutes.
2. A ‘hook’ added by making one of the street walkers a schoolgirl.
3. A script doctor has taken a late pass, but only dealing only with the characters found on Hollywood Boulevard.

The gulf in quality between the main characters and those on the Boulevard is comical. A-list material loiters around a cheap video nasty. Kudos to that script doctor. But even Kathleen Kennedy would have read that draft and demanded the Doc work their magic on the rest of it. Didn’t happen.

The final exchange between Angel’s gay street buddy and lesbian landlady was genuinely moving, making the whole film worthwhile. But it exists in the same film a killer shoots his way out of an I.D. parade when he’s identified. Problem is... he could neither see nor hear the witness identifying him!

The Boulevard script doctor shares the MVP slot with Safan.

 Posted:   Jul 16, 2023 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

He really made that Synclavier sound his own within his scores.
I was playing REMO last week and it's such a trademark element of that Safan sound.

 Posted:   Jul 16, 2023 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

He really made that Synclavier sound his own within his scores.
I was playing REMO last week and it's such a trademark element of that Safan sound.

I should mention that the score to the Sequel "Avenging Angel" is by Christopher Young and he did a great job on that as well.

 Posted:   Jul 17, 2023 - 5:56 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

McD's impressive walkthrough here only puts into relief my own embarassing exposure to Safan over the years. It's a name I became aware of early on, in my earliest film music awareness days in the early 90s, due to his incidental music on CHEERS, which I followed slavishly in my school days. But I've failed to explore him much since. I mean, I have a track from SON OF THE MORNING STAR on a fan-made compilation in my iTunes. And I've sampled some other things over the years, like REMO WILLIAMS, THE LAST STARFIGHTER, the rejected WOLFEN, MAJOR PAYNE, some other bits and bobs. But either they haven't made much of a first impression to make me keep them, or I haven't listened properly. In any case, this thread will prove inspiration to explore furter and reassess.

 Posted:   Mar 22, 2024 - 7:49 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

In case you missed it, McD:

 Posted:   May 6, 2024 - 12:56 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

McD, do you know anything about this? has Safan listed under a short-lived TV series called "Over My Dead Body". That's the only website that has such a listing.

However, the series is all up except the final episode (which IMDb has Peter Bernstein down as composer for), and I've verified all credits personally for the rest and Safan is not credited on any of them, and the theme music is not by him either.

Faulty listing? Rejected score? Unaired pilot? Unaired episode?

 Posted:   Jun 21, 2024 - 12:57 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

New credit find today: He scored the first episode of the short-lived Sepelling series "Spies" (1987):

The only episode currently up. It's got light touches of Remo Williams in it.

I submitted it to IMDb and it's up now.

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